MONROVIA – Better Future Foundation (BFF), will shortly honor the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union (EU), and the Government of Liberia (GOL), for their collaboration and significant achievements relative to the implementation of the regional integration process within ECOWAS and its socio-economic and political impacts on inter-state women traders in Liberia.
The honoring ceremony which would be held in the auditorium of the New Hope Academy on Peace Island, Jacob Town, Monrovia, is the outcome of a flagship project awarded to BFF nearly a decade ago sourced from an open call for proposals for non-state actors’ participation in the regional integration process in West Africa.
The venture was bankrolled by the European Union under the 9th European Development Fund for African, Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) countries through the ECOWAS Commission as the Contracting Authority.
According to a press release issued in Monrovia yesterday, BFF’s project “Awareness Among Inter-state Women Traders and Law Enforcement State Agents in Liberia” addressed one of the three thematic areas in the call for proposal: Achieving Regional Customs Union and Common Market within ECOWAS.
Subsequently, the BFF release said, a total of 597 inter-state women traders and 272 state security agents successfully participated in the project in 11 of Liberia’s 15 counties.
The project was officially launched by then Vice President of Liberia on Friday, 25, February 2011, at the Liberia Chamber of Commerce on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
According to the release issued by BFF Secretariat, during the planned honoring ceremony, accolades would be bestowed on representatives of ECOWAS, EU and GOL as participants are set to showcase highlights from the project, including its success stories by inter-state women traders.
They will also highlight the need for a comprehensive survey bordering on the livelihoods of inter-state women traders whose constituency forms the bedrock economic base for Liberia and the ECOWAS Community consistent with the feminine agenda under the United Nations (UN) Resolution 1325.
Ahead of the pending honoring program, an array of inter-state women traders, under the banner: “Women Beyond Borders (WBB), a leadership and socio-economic empowerment program of the Better Future Foundation (BFF), on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, paid a special courtesy visit to the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, at his Capitol Hill office in Monrovia.
During the visit, the women traders lauded ECOWAS for its immense positive contributions to their business activities, leading to improving their individual and collective livelihood.
During an interactive discussion with the ECOWAS Ambassador, the Women Beyond Borders (WBB) narrated their warm and rich experiences as well as challenges in the conduct of their business operations particularly along various border-crossing and check points in the ECOWAS region.
Led by seven of their leaders, the women traders praised the ECOWAS Authority for its resolve and commitment to strengthening and enhancing regional peace, security and cooperation and facilitating free movement of goods and services for the benefit of ECOWAS Community citizens.
The high-powered delegation of the inter-state women traders was accompanied to the offices of the ECOWAS Ambassador by BFF President, Augustine Arkoi, who on behalf of the delegation extended formal invitation to the ECOWAS Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo to grace the honoring program.
Responding to the special courtesy visit, Ambassador Ajisomo expressed delight for the positive steps taken by the inter-state women traders and their persistent support for regional peace, security as well as cross-border trade and commerce.
“Peace is not abstract, it is linked to work, justice and development,” Ambassador Ajisomo told the high powered women delegation.
Ambassador Ajisomo recounted the resilience of Liberian women who were in the forefront during the country’s brutal civil war, engaging then belligerent forces to disarm, embrace peace and democratic governance in Liberia.
The ECOWAS diplomat further emphasized that such peaceful actions by Liberian women significantly contributed to the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2003.
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Special Representative applauded the inter-state women traders for their support to not only regional economic development, but especially imparting the livelihood of their families as bread winners.
Better Future Foundation (BFF), a non-state actor and an advocate of ECOWAS regional integration, is a civil society organization dedicated to the postwar reconstruction and development of Liberia. BFF’s mission primarily involves initiating programs and activities aimed at promoting socio-economic, educational, international cultural understanding and cooperation.